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MerMade is rising from the sea with 65-gallon recycling bins made from fully traceable, certified ocean plastic sourced from Oceanworks. In this case, the plastic waste was collected from waters around Costa Rica. And each bin, made with 3.5 pounds of ocean plastic for World Oceans Day on June 8 (and beyond), comes with a 10-year warranty.

World Oceans Day comes via the United Nations as a time set aside “to raise global awareness of the benefits humankind derives from the ocean and our individual and collective duty to use its resources sustainably.”

The MerMade bins come from a Los Angeles-based startup that bills itself as “a creative collective that helps people reimagine traditional plastic products by using certified ocean plastic.”

A first batch of 111 blue bins, made by local partner Rehrig with distinctive teal lids, can be found in the wild throughout Southern California at local surf shops, schools and private residences, the company says. One claim to fame: It’s the first-ever bin to use ocean plastic in a trash-can mold.

“We hope to expand our placements and see our MerMade bins on curbs at private homes, businesses, and at events and festivals nationwide,” says Tessa Hayward, one of MerMade’s cofounders. At Lollapalooza 2021? Maybe.

Hayward helped create the startup in 2019 with fellow ocean lovers Matt Hartz, Matt Lanzdorf and Jesse Blatz, colleagues at LA-based advertising agency Team One. They pitched the ocean plastic recycling bin idea for an agency Launch an Idea program, won $25,000 and used it as seed money to start the company.

Why a Recycling Bin?

You may have heard of ditching the plastic straw to help curb ocean plastic pollution. Hayward says the bins are about thinking bigger when it comes to how people can help curb plastic pollution. The 3.5 pounds of Oceanworks plastic that goes into each MerMade bin is equal to 3,000 straws, Hayward says. Similar products like ocean plastic traffic cones, shopping carts and more may be on the horizon.

“Our goal is a lofty one—to get millions of pounds of plastic out of the ocean—and possibly inspire other companies to reimagine their products using ocean plastic along the way,” she says.

Oceanworks sources plastic waste from eight marine collection zones around the globe, including Costa Rica.

“Oceanworks guidelines set the requirements for a supplier and its material to be listed as Oceanworks Guaranteed,” Hayward explains. “They focus on five categories: collection area compliance, environmental stewardship, social impact, business compliance, and recycling processes and segregation.”

Unfortunately, there’s a lot of waste to be claimed. Less than 10% U.S. plastic is reportedly recycled and plastic production is expected to double over the next two decades. Hayward notes that an estimated 17.6 billion pounds of plastic enters the marine environment every year, which is roughly equal to dumping a garbage truck full of plastic into the oceans every minute.

How to Get One

MerMade is accepting applications for bin batches on its website. Single bins are available for individuals and local business owners who reside in select service areas in Southern California. Bulk batches are available for order and delivery across the United States and worldwide.

For a limited time while supplies last, SoCal individuals and business owners in select service areas can apply for a complimentary MerMade bin, Hayward says. Bulk pricing varies by size and shipping requirements but individual bins will go for about $100 after the complimentary window closes (comparable in price to bins available at big-box stores).

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